Ninu MazumdarNinu Mazumdar
, is known as a pioneer in popular Gujarati light music (Sugam Sangeet) along wih Avinash Vyas. This was a time when, due to efforts of a modern educated middle class, Gujarati music as well as theatre were coming out of the commercial melodrama and historicals. The new "light music" derived from classical Raagaas. Mazumdar's Garbaas and Bhajans became equally popular.

Kaumudi Munshi wed Ninu Mazumdar in 1954


Ninu was a pet name that he became famous by. His real name was Niranjan, which he later used as a pen name in his Gazals. His father, Nagendra Mazumdar made silent films.

Ninu's mother and grandmother belonged to Surat, which had been at the forefront of the 19th century reforms movement in Gujarat. The family and social background were going to affect his search for music and knowledge that resulted in a secular and creative approach to scriptures, Sanskrit classics and medieval saint poetry. 

After the early influence of Faiyaz Khan, Mazumdar's search took him to various routes and he studied different kinds of music before he came into his own to become one of the first Gujarati Sugam Sangeet (light music) singer. He soon graduated to composing his own music and writing songs. Apart from classical music, the earlier influence was also of Ravindra Sangeet. This was at the time when Bengali language enjoyed the prestige among Gujaratis of a kind that was comparable to the status of French among the English speaking nations. He grew out of it in a few years.

The more lasting influence on his music was that of folk songs and semi-classical music of Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) like the Hori, Chaiti, Barkha Biraha as well as Thumri and Dadra. He learned these during his stint in U.P. where he did farming for some years and also kept in touch through association with people like Satyendra Trivedi, a connoisseur of music and the "Thumri Queen", Siddheshwari Devi, a family friend and his wife Kaumudi's Guru.

Theatre and music critic Kumud Mehta, the first joint Director of NCPA (National Center of Performing Arts) was another friend with whom he had long debates on music and literature. He made several musical presentations during the early years of NCPA.

All India RadioNinu's ambition, even when he started his schooling in music at Baroda, was to become a music director in films. From 1937 onwards he participated in light Gujarati musical programmes; he also produced several features for All India Radio. From 1954, Mazumdar worked with all India Radio in Mumbai for over 20 years as Light Music Producer.  He would have liked to take part in Hindi programmes too but the shortage of Gujarati artists forced him to concentrate on programmes in that language.

Field experts from the world of music and theatre were invited to join AIR and contribute creatively. Among the other field experts who joined at that time were P.L.Deshpande, violinist V.G.Jog, Ustad Hafiz Ahmed Khan and Anil Biswas. When in charge of music for the newly launched Vividh Bharati, that had to compete with Radio Ceylon without using any film music (film music was not played on AIR for several years due to conflicts over contracts and royalties), he successfully produced programmes inviting Salil Chaudhary, Kanu Ghosh and others from Bombay Youth Choir or IPTA and using voices of Manna Dey and other well known artists. Later when the issue of royalties was settled between the film producers and AIR, Mazumdar was the first to produce the popular Jaymala Programme by interviewing eminent persons from the film industry.

A career in films was also cut out for Ninu Mazumdar, as his father, Nagendra Mazumdar, was a dramatist and film producer. Nagendra was not much of a musician but he imparted his son training in music from the very early days.

Movies done by Ninu MazumdarNinu found the field restricted, in way, in films, because of the need of working at a very fast pace and with view to pleasing the majority among the public. Ninu tried to introduce a new trend in film music, that of, adding a classical touch by borrowing from the old masters like Surdas. These attempts met with considerable success in Gopinath, a picture in which Ninu had interest as a producer as well.

It was in films made in the forties that a young Ninu Mazumdar's voice could be heard. He sang with Sardar Akhtar in "Uljhan", with Amirbai Karnataki in 'Paristan" and Meena Kapoor in "Gopinath".

He provided music for Jail Yatra and Gopinath, two of the earliest Raj Kapoor films. It is well documented by now that the Yashomati Maiyase Poochhe Nandlala song in RK movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram is a direct lift from Mazumdar's Aai Gori Radhika in Gopinath.

He also composed music for several Gujarati Films like "Jeevano Jugari", "Okha Haran", "Sharad Poonam" etc.

He sang and penned quite a few of his songs. Amongst others who sang for him were Meena Kapoor, Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt, Suraiya, Hameedabanu, Pradeepji, C.H.Atma, Ameerbai Karnataki, Raj Kapoor, Shankar Dasgupta, S.D.Batish, Lakshmi Shankar, Talat Mehmood, Siddheshwari Devi, Rajkumar, Nalini Mulgaonkar, Dilip Dholakia, Ajeet Merchant, Shobha Gurtu, Sarla Bhide, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Manna Dey, Kishori Amonkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Leela Mehta, Premlata Naik, Kishori Ghia, Suman Kalyanpur, Kaumudi Munshi, Nirupama Sheth, Veena Mehta, Shubha Joshi, Rajul Mehta, Purushottam Upadhyay, Ashit Desai, Rekha Trivedi,  Malay Banerjee, Uday Mazumdar, Aswini Bhide Deshpande, Shaivangi Desai, Ranjana Joglekar, Falguni Dalal etc.

Vetern composer Ninu Mazumdar passed away on March 3 2000. Some of his songs have become so popular that people often do not even remember who wrote or composed them.

Ninu Mazumdar has three daughters from his first wife Sharda who are achievers in their own right. Eldest daughter Rajul Mehta is a well known singer & has kept alive the legacy of her father's music & his literary compositions. Sonal Shukla is an established social worker & feminist causes and youngest daughter Minal Patel is a prominent theatre & film personality.





    Rajul Mehta         Sonal Shukla            Minal Patel
                       Rajul Mehta                                                         Sonal Shukla                                                Minal Patel



Concept by Neha Yajnik

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